Of late, when moments allow, I’ve been exploring a number of very rewarding music blogs out there. Following is a compendium of what I consider to be particularly notable such blogs and/or postings (which I’ll likely add to in the next day or so, so revisit if you’re so inclined). It’s also well worth mentioning that the blogrolls of these cats are prolly worth exploring (during your copious free time) — not to mention the usual suspects WFMU’s Beware of the Blog, UBUWEB, Strange Reaction, 7inch Punk, and any of the various music links off on the right side of this here post.
Oh, and please remember (and spread the word): friends don’t let friends use RapidShare. (In this context, the more daring and tinker-prone might try RapidShare Link Grabber — caveat emptor and no warranty or endorsement granted or implied.) Here’s a link that offers a list of some alternative filesharing services with less obnoxious end-user experiences.
Mutant Sounds. Ho. Ly. Crap. Not only do you get numerous NWW List ultra-rarities, you get even more stuff that would make any self-respecting avant collector scum drool themselves half to death. And intelligent and oft-even-erudite annotations. Dang. There’s a reason this one is listed first.
FM SHADES. I first learned of this blog qua the Velvet Underground “Dolph acetate” I recently yammered about at some length, and I keep going back. Deeply obscure but almost always delicious selections of early electronics, prog, avant jazz, bent folk, and some things I prolly wouldn’t normally bother with but am almost always glad I did. Just one absolute must have is Pierre Henry’s incredible Mise en Musique du Corticalart de Roger LaFosse (1971), in which the brain waves of one Roger LaFosse are transformed by analog synthesis. Run, don’t walk.
Mended Records. A music blog, not a label. And yes, more please thank you! Currently an emphasis on vinyl rips of gaspingly rare ’80s avant music: Eugene Chadbourne free improv, Fred Frith table-top guitars in Japan, Arcane Device (!), This Heat, Slapp Happy’s BBC sessions, Bob Ostertag, and hell even avant garde groups from friggin’ Estonia! Downside: RapidShit.
Iva BittovÃ¡ & Pavel Fajt: BittovÃ¡ & Fajt (1987) via Orang Aural, which has now relocated to the fervently recommended Border Music (see below). Violin and percussion?? Oh hell yeah. Unspeakably beautiful music from this Czech avant duo deeply informed by Roma tradition. Every one of their albums are worth seeking out…if you can even find them. This one is especially rare. Iva has also released some very worthwhile solo recordings. Iva…if you ever need someone to have your baby, just let me know. It’s medically impossible, but I’ll find a way. I’m just sayin’.
Border Music. Um. Wow. Are you ready to pee your pants and not mind one bit? In re: the same cat that brought us the aforementioned BittovÃ¡ & Fajt at his previous blog-home, I offer six all-important words (integers duly re-typed): The Residents – Early Works (1971-72). As in the complete mythic and illusory Baby Sex, the impossibly ellusive The Warner Brothers Album, and the very first Santa Dog double single. Wait, don’t pee yet. 192kbps rips. Okay, now pee. (And as you change pants, try to forget he uses RapidShitbag.) The Residents post alone is worthy of embarrassing kowtowing (op cit.), but our good captain is also conversant with the likes of Evan Parker, Bob Ostertag, Steve Lacy, RenÃ© Lussier, Massacre, Frith, et al. Dude.
Bubblegum Machine. All this synaptic avant screeching humming blat shit is plenty well and good, but man…sometimes some delicious AM radio pop is just plain refreshing. Two songs posted every week, and the archives stay active in perpetuity. Quote: “Manifesto. If it’s ever been on K-Tel or Ronco, it’s in. If it features hand claps, cow bells, syrupy orchestration, walls of sound, wrecking crews, sha-la-las, toothy teen idols, candy-based metaphors for carnal acts or lyrics about hugging, squeezing and rocking all night long, it’s in.” You’ll be sitting at your desk stifling the urge to harmonize. Now…if someone would just start making flesh-toned iPod earbuds for use during meetings….
BBC Radiophonic Collections and Dr. Who Soundtracks. The infinitely magnanimous if slightly eccentric X-Y-Z-Cosmonaut once saw fit to post literally hours of precious recordings by the BBC Radophonic Workshop. (Read: “Incredibly rare and absolutely essential early electronic music.”) The rest of the blog is interesting if you’re interested: ’70s “blaxploitation” comic books, obscure ’70s Saturday AM superhero TV video rips, and similarly kitschy fare…all with admirably obsessive glee. But dude: BBC Radiophonics! (Albeit all via the damnable autofelching hell that is RapidShare). To wit:
And while you’re there — and only if you can’t find the original article, which is lovingly assembled, gorgeously packaged in an fascinatingly extensive hardbound booklet, and well worth every red cent — you may as well grab Raymond Scott: Manhattan Research Inc. (2-CDs, 69 tracks total).
And speaking of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, you should definitely read this absolutely superlative extended essay: “BBC Radiophonic Workshop: An Engineering Perspective.”
Delia Derbyshire: Electronic Music Pioneer. Speaking (again) of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, you must stop by this site to both learn about this (gasp!) female pioneer of electronic music and to visit the Music Clips page to avail yourself of excellent and rare works, including a few pieces unavailable anywhere else.
Crap I Found At the Library. Get real. How can you not be a slave to a music blog whose first-page posts include Curtis “Shaft” Mayfield’s gospel album, Killdozer, Javanese gamelan, and Woody Guthrie? Digging a little deeper, you’ll find yodeling from Austria and Switzerland, Hawaiian exotica, and a full rip of the priceless Best of Ralph compilation (which some rat bastard stole from me back in my DJ-ing days at Club Dreamerz…may your pecker fall off and kill all around you with its putrescence), a theremin compilation, circus music, and a sound effects record. Just for starters. Can you buy someone a beer over email? Hell…are we related?
ShortWaveMusic. Okay, I confess I’ve not yet really checked this one out…but how can I not include any blog “featuring music and/or musical noise intercepted via shortwave radio.” I mean, c’mon.
The Conet Project. Well, if I’m gonna mention shortwave at all, then I must not take one more breath or step without referring you to the legendary Conet Project: a 4-CD, 150-track collection released by Irdial Discs compiling recordings of broadcasts by so-called “number stations” — “used by the worlds intelligence agencies to transmit secret messages” — over 20 years. Fascinating, bizarre, sometimes hilarious, and utterly Yeah. Two different MP3 archives of this remarkable work are freely available online (thanks in part, and ironically, to a successful copyright infringement lawsuit against the band Wilco, which used some excerpts on their CD, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot):